This week has been a busy one for birds of prey in or close to our garden here in Plealey. While working in the borders in the back garden yesterday we delighted in the site, and it has to be said sounds, of a dog fight between a Red Kite and two Jackdaws. This all went on right above our heads as the Jackies forced the kite low over the garden and then the kite fought back gaining a few metres of height. It gave us the chance to watch the kite’s long wing and tail feathers twisting and turning which gave it extra manoevrability which the jackies matched with their persistence and stubborness.
In the lane near our garden we watched a hobby flying almost at ground level looking like an oversized swift. It was a beautiful grey-backed male. He maintained a constant, and very rapid, flying height of only about 12 inches or so above the tarmac.
This morning we watched our local male merlin hunting through the garden and later found the feathers of a greenfinch – his breakfast – on the lawn. More gruesome was the remains of a peregrine kill – just the wings and tail of a wood pigeon – scattered on the grass path down to the chickens. Why do peregrines always leave the tail and wings but consume every other bit of flesh and bone?